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Raven Saunders’ Mother’s Death Turned Happiness into Tragedy

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Raven Saunders’ mother’s death turned her happiness into tragedy just a day after the American track and field athlete won a silver medal in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Raven’s mother, Clarissa Saunders, passed away Tuesday morning in Orlando, Florida. Her death was confirmed by Raven’s longtime coach and father figure, Herbert Johnson.

The coach said that Clarissa was in Florida with Raven’s sister Tanzania. They were attending Olympic watch parties for the families of Team USA athletes, Raven’s coach said.

Raven Saunders' Mother's Death Turned Happiness into Tragedy

“It’s just a terrible blow for Raven and her family,” Johnson said. Raven also posted about her mother on social media, writing: “Hoping off social media for a while to take care of my mental and my family.”

“My mama was a great woman and will forever live through me. My number one guardian angel … I will always and forever love you,” Raven, a South Carolina native who won a silver medal Sunday, added.

USA Track and Field and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee released a statement of condolence. “Her mother leaves behind an incredible legacy in her daughter for who we are all so proud and grateful to all our teammates,” spokesperson Susan Hazzard said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Saunders family during his difficult time,” Hazzard added.

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Raven Saunders’ Mother’s Death Shocked Family

Raven Saunders’ mother’s death was announced by Raven’s longtime coach and father figure, Herbert Johnson. May he rest in peace.

Morning News Anchor Michal Higdon shared the details on her Twitter account, writing, “Mrs. Saunders was in Florida with Tanzy (Raven’s sister) where the USATF brought them for Olympic Family watch parties.”

“Her coach is asking for prayers and giving support and love to Raven and Tanzy. He says Raven sends her love to everyone and is ‘staying strong,'” Higdon wrote on Twitter.

Raven Saunders' Mother's Death Turned Happiness into Tragedy
Image Source: NBC News

It is a difficult time for Saunders’ family and friends, and we ask you all to keep Clarissa Saunders, her family, and all of her loved ones in your thoughts through this agonizing time.

Clarissa Saunders worked hard at the Krispy Kreme on Savannah Highway for years, and the store helped fund-raise for her daughter, Raven, when she made her first trip to the Olympics in 2016.

In 2014, when Raven was titled as the Gatorade national track and field high school athlete of the year, her mother, Clarissa, had to keep the secret for a week.

“They called me last Thursday and asked me to keep it a secret, but gosh, it was so hard because I was so excited for her. It almost slipped out a few times, and I had to be careful not to talk about it with other people,” Clarissa Saunders said at the time.

“I’m glad it was today because I don’t know how much longer I could have held it inside. I am so proud of her,” the proud mom added.

In 2016, Krispy Kreme helped raise money for Raven’s mother and sister, Clarissa, and Tanzania, to travel to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics. “My mom has been kind of stressed about it,” Charleston Olympic silver medalist said at the time.

“But I told her, things will work out. It always has, and that’s why I try not to stress about a lot of things. I know if you leave it in God’s hands, things will work out,” raven added.

The moment when she first saw her family in Rio was memorable and special. “My mom started crying as soon as we hugged. Seeing my family really made my day,” she said.


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